Lesotho National team coach Moses Maliehe says he will take his tried and tested players for the upcoming regional COSAFA Cup to be staged in South Africa’s Limpopo province from May 27-June 9.
Lesotho will start the competition in the quarterfinals where they have been drawn against Swaziland.
Maliehe said the regional competition will give him the platform to test his charges in competitive matches as they prepare to host Cape Verde in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Lesotho will host Cape Verde at Setsoto Stadium in September for its second match of Group L, having started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Tanzania. Maliehe also stated that he feels the Crocodiles, as his team is affectionately known, is in a position to challenge for a place in the final.
Lesotho last reached the final of the regional competition in 2000, where they lost to Zimbabwe. The team of that year boasted the likes of Lehlohonolo Seema, who went on to have a successful career in South Africa.
“The team is not finalised as yet, but we have called all our best players because I believe we have a chance of getting to the final,” Maliehe said. “We were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2016 and reached the semi-final last year in Rustenburg and this is a chance for us to try and get to the final.”
The Lesotho mentor also admitted that the regional competition is a good platform for him to test his players in the build-up to the continental qualifiers.
Added Maliehe: “Looking at it, we will not have enough time to prepare for the match against Cape Verde and the best thing do was to take our best players for the tournament to be staged in the Limpopo Province.
“But at the same time, we have young players that have done well in the league and deserve a chance in the team as well. “The target is to do better than we did in the last two competitions and we gathered enough experience to be able to do so,” he said.
Among the young players in the team, Maliehe said he has included young goalkeeper, Monaheng Ramalefane, who helped the Lesotho Under-20 team reach the final of the regional competition. South Africa won the match 2-1.
He has also included Luciano Matsoso, who plies his trade in Poland for Oskar Przysucha, along with Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho of Phnom Penh Crown in the Cambodian League.
“The two players have not been with the team since our friendly match against Namibia in March, but we are expecting them to join us in the next week.”
By Mikia Kalati